Sunday, December 4, 2011

Words Cannot Express, Death in the Archives

Where: Archives of American Art

When: through December 31, 2011

The Archives of American Art is a room in the American Art Museum that showcases parts of the archives collection.  The archives has 16 million items, the largest collection of its kind in the world.  Again, I'm reminded how fortunate I am to live here in DC, with access to all of these resources.

This exhibit shows expressions of sympathy for artists who have died, written by other artists.  In a way, they are like any other letters people write to the survivors.  They mention how much they loved the deceased person, how big an influence they were on their lives and how much they will miss them.  Because the people they are mourning are artists, however, these condolence letters serve as the beginning of the making of the artist's legacy, and so are more than the usual notes of sympathy.

Verdict: A trip to the archives is always worth while, and the subject matter, while somber, is interesting.  A way to escape the nonstop merriment of the holiday season, if you are in need of such.

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